Cardboard Boxes in Concave perspective


I call it concave perspective because if we look at most wide angle curvilinear perspective it looks like the reflection in the back of a spoon. Whereas this approach is more like the inside of a spoon, that is between the concave surface and the focal point.

When we look at the world surrounding us, we observe it from a single point and the space around us forms a bubble of what we can see. This is the reasoning behind 360 degree perspective. Now imagine the situation in reverse, instead of the single point, you are the bubble and you are looking at one single point from various angles and everything between you (the bubble) and the single point. This isn’t as daft as it appears when you take into consideration looking at any point close up and the fact that you have two eyes. Our perception of depth is a combination of several things, one of them being perspective, another being stereoptics – having two eyes.

I was wondering what things would look like if you had an enormous concave eye and you were looking at something from all these different angles simultaneously and I came to the conclusion that the focal point in front of the eye would take up the whole of the vision if anything was occupying that space, and things between that point and the eye would appear smaller the closer they became. This came about after going to Sea Life in Trafford and looking at these aquaria that form concvex bubbles of water, as the fish get closer, they get smaller. The first time, I didn’t notice they were convex and whacked my head on one. When the aquarium has a convex bubble looking into the tank the effect is a sort of wide angle perspective. It’s quite interesting, I recommend going to look at fish. At MOSI in Manchester there has always been a big concave black polished dome which forms a concave mirror, but because its dark and how the light is controlled you can only see what is between the focal point and the surface, meaning you can shake hands with yourself and observe your fingers’ reflection getting smaller the closer they get to your real fingers.

I’ve done lots of drawings and started a few paintings along these lines, but this one is of such a banal subject and gives the boxes a funny shape and character that is kind of repulsive and charming at the same time. They look like a group of ugly children.


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